World War 2 Casualties
World War 2 was the bloodiest conflict in human history. There were more than 60 million World War 2 casualties resulting in death which at the time was more than 2.5% of the overall world population. The war was notable for the Nazi-sponsored genocide of the Jewish peoples resulting in more than 5.9 million deaths, and the impact of “Total War” on the world’s population.
- 1 History of Accounting for the War Dead from World War 2
- 2 World War 2 Casualties (Pie Chart)
- 3 World War 2 Casualty Tables
- 4 World War 2 Total Deaths
- 5 World War 2 Casualties (Military Deaths)
- 6 World War 2 Jewish Deaths By Country
- 7 U.S. Military World War 2 Medal of Honor Recipients
- 8 World War 2 Casualties (Civilian Deaths)
- 9 World War 2 Casualties Video
- 10 World War 2 Casualty Resources
History of Accounting for the War Dead from World War 2
Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, there has been a significant amount of research conducted regarding the topic of World War 2 casualties with the resulting opening of previously closed scholarly resources. Current estimates now show that the number of war dead within the postwar borders total 26.6 million individuals. Within Poland, the IPN (Polish Institute of National Remembrance) places their estimated war dead between 5.6 and 5.8 million people. Depending on the definitions placed on deaths or casualties that resulted from warfare or crimes against humanity by historians, the figures will vary across resources.
World War 2 Casualties (Pie Chart)
World War 2 Casualty Tables
The totals listed are approximate and based on a variety of sources.
World War 2 Total Deaths
World War 2 Casualties (Military Deaths)
World War 2 Jewish Deaths By Country
U.S. Military World War 2 Medal of Honor Recipients
The U.S. Medal of Honor was first created during the U.S. Civil War and is the highest military award or decoration presented by the
government to members of the armed forces. In order to receive the medal, the individual must have put their own life at risk while performing beyond the call of duty against an enemy of the U.S. Based on the nature of the medal it is commonly awarded posthumously (after death). During World War 2 a total of 464 Medal of Honors were awarded with 266 of those posthumously. 42 of the medals were awarded for action during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor (15) and 27 during the Battle of Iwo Jima. The only Medal of Honor ever awarded to a member of the US Coast Guard was during World War 2.
World War 2 Casualties (Civilian Deaths)
As time moves on, and previously closed records become released the full toll of World War 2 on the civilian populations has become better recognized. Specifically, the fall of Communism and the opening of records in the former Soviet Union, Yugoslavia, and other countries have helped modern historians make a better accounting of the number of civilian casualties suffered during World War 2. The totals below should be treated as approximate figures.
World War 2 Casualties Video
World War 2 Casualty Resources
The U.S. National Archives has a number of World War 2 Casualty resources that range across the U.S. Armed Forces as well as a number of records regarding other nations. The official U.S. Navy and Marine Corps Records branch (Bureau of Naval Personnel) still maintains the Navy and Marine Corps’ 1947 IBM printout arranged chronologically by campaign annotating the official World War 2 casualty accounting. Listed beneath each campaign are the ships and units in alphabetic order followed by the personnel casualties by last number. Each sailor or marine’s service number, rank, rate, casualty code, and date of casualty are listed. The original and supplementary records have since been transferred to the Modern Military Branch, National Archives and Records Administration located at: 8601 Adelphi Road, College Park, MD 20740-6001.